A panel beater repairs damage to metal, fiberglass and plastic panels, primarily on vehicles. They also make replacement panels using hand tools. Typical tasks include removing panels, repairing them with specialized tools, and rejoining them using correct welding procedures. They also may replace a damaged panel with a new one.
The job is typically performed indoors at a body shop or automotive collision repair center. A workday primarily consists of removal of damaged panels from vehicles, then cutting, grinding, and hammering them back into serviceable condition. To accomplish this, there may be the removal and re-attachment of automotive electrical components. In the case of non-repairable panels, new or secondhand components may be used in place of the original. These have to be attached within factory specificationss and clearances in mind. Once their primary job is completed, a panel beater may assist in the painting process. In addition to the general repair to collision vehicles, a panel beater may also help custom vehicles, including the restoration of vintage vehicles and other specialty cars.
Qualifications for this job include good hand-eye coordination, the ability to work proficiently with hand tools, and an ability to visualize an end result. Panel beaters also need to have accurate color vision. Additional skills for the job include the ability to precisely follow instructions and the ability to perform primarily physical duties as required.